February 26, 2015

Craft Beer Market in Tokyo

by Kayoko Akabori

People in Japan are cuckoo for beer. It remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, accounting for two thirds of all alcohol consumed overall (says Wikipedia). When going out with friends or coworkers after work, it is an ongoing tradition for the table to order a round of draft beers for the first kanpai […]

February 19, 2015

Kuishinbo: The Smiler Cocktail

by Yuki HD

As a Japanese person, I love to drink. The first time I traveled to the U.S. with my sister, the two of us would always order a bottle of wine during lunch, and then again for dinner. The servers were always amazed; we were usually the only customers to order a full bottle. I thought […]

January 15, 2015

Event Recap: MUJI x Umami Mart

by Kayoko Akabori

When MUJI came to us last year to put on a collaborative event together, Yoko and I did not not hesitate to say YES. A leading retailer in Japan, MUJI has been around for decades, outfitting people’s homes, kitchens, wardrobes and backpacks full of understated, minimal, yet high-quality goods. We respect them greatly, and were […]

June 23, 2014

Umami Mart Map: The Chronicles of Nagoya

by Yoko Kumano

Instead of reaching there via a Wardrobe route, Nagoya is about a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. It is the third most populous city in Japan, with 2.3 million people living within 11 square miles. Car geeks may know Nagoya as Toyota HQ. Gamblers may take note that it is where pachinko was born. […]

March 3, 2014

Ask a Bartender: The Chrysanthemum

by Kayoko Akabori

My alcohol tolerance is not what it used to be, sadly. The morning after a night of drinking just gets tougher and tougher. Hideko says, “You are no longer young.” WHAT?!?!? To curb this issue, I often order low-alcohol cocktails these days, like Vermouth or Sherry variations. They’re all the rage — the book Art […]

February 19, 2014

Postcard from Tokyo

by Kayoko Akabori

We made it! After a restless 16 hours of travel — I read this month’s New Yorker (excellent expose on Amazon and its monopoly on the publishing industry) and Vanity Fair (The Hollywood Issue! Rupert Murdoch’s marital betrayal!) cover to cover, whilst listening to Howard Stern — Yoko and I have touched down and are […]

February 10, 2014

Ordinaire, My Neighborhood Wine Shop (Oakland)

by Kayoko Akabori

I’ve lived in the Grand Lake district of Oakland for four years now, and we’ve never had a proper wine shop. Popular restaurants like Camino dot Grand Avenue, along with nail salons, bike shops, a wonderful book store, Oaktown Spice Shop — but if I ever wanted a bottle of wine, I would have to […]

December 31, 2013

The Vin Vivant: Fat Belly, Tiny Bubbles

by Audrey Luk

When Old Man Winter’s icy digit stops mercury from rising, I am reminded of a traveler I met in Argentina, a Canadian middle-school teacher who once ran sled dogs. It was so cold in Saskatchewan that when he and the dogs returned to their cabin after a day of skittering across the tundra, he dropped […]

December 20, 2013

Happy Hour: Mezcal Winter Cocktails

by Fredo Ceraso

Once you are through slurping down mugs of Tom & Jerry bowls and hot buttered rum then please consider a few winter cocktails with a smoky twist, mezcal. The two drinks we feature in Happy Hour this month are nothing alike but leave you with that campfire warmth from palette to pinky toe. One cocktail […]

November 18, 2013

Umami Map: Where to Buy Shochu in the Bay Area

by Kayoko Akabori

UPDATED 11/19/13, 8:47pm We get a lot of phone calls about where to buy shochu in the Bay Area. I love talking to people about this — as you know, we are here to spread the shochu gospel here at Umami Mart. So here’s a definitive list of where to go for your shochu needs. […]